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When someone sneezes, do i get the virus? |

Health And Family

When someone sneezes, do i get the virus?

SLICE OF LIFE - Ching M. Alano - The Philippine Star
When someone sneezes, do i get the virus?
Three vs. infection: Unilab R&D head Joyce Santos, pulmonologist Dr. Gwen Agra, and Solmux Advance brand manager Leevan Fong at the Solmux Advance launch

I remember I was hearing Mass in a crowded chapel when my throat suddenly felt itchy and I started to cough. The woman standing right next to me gave me a dirty look, as if to say, “Stay away from me!” These days, with the coronavirus (covid-19) threat hanging over our heads, it’s almost a crime to cough in public. For sure, people will avoid you like the plague.
It was a relief that at the Unilab launch of its new over-the-counter cough medicine I attended recently, nobody was coughing — at least no one within breathing distance from where I was seated. 

But I wonder now, are all coughs infectious?

“Not all coughs are infectious,” says Dr. Gwen Dy-Agra, pulmonologist and internist. “Some, like those produced from allergy, are not contagious. But coughs caused by viral or bacterial infections are contagious. More often, these are in the phlegm and it becomes an agent of infection if the phlegm is sneezed or coughed.”

When someone sneezes, can I get the virus?

Doc Gwen replies, “It depends on how the virus/bacteria becomes contagious. If via droplets, you don’t have to be near the person. If you touch something where the droplets landed and, subsequently, you touch your nose or face, then you can get the virus.” 

What is the safe distance for me not to get infected by somebody who coughs or sneezes?

“The adequate distance where you are most likely not to get infected is six feet,” Doc Gwen discloses. 

The good doctor prescribes, “Refrain from touching surfaces which might have been contaminated by a sneeze/cough. If touching these areas are unavoidable, practice handwashing.”

Solmux advance: proudly filipino

That Unilab (United Laboratories, Inc.) is celebrating its 75th year is definitely nothing to sneeze at. And to mark its diamond anniversary and welcome a new decade (2020) Unilab’s R&D department has come up with a gem of a new product:  Solmux Advance. 

“It combines two products in one tablet,” reveals Joyce Santos, head of Unilab’s R&D. 

It took 10 years of painstaking lab work to develop this world-first product. “We have to ensure that the product is stable, safe, effective, and of consistent quality,” stresses Joyce. “Also, the product should be easy to take to ensure high patient compliance.”

“The launch of Solmux Advance is very timely because it’s now the season of coughs and colds,” says Unilab’s Kat Martinez.

Unraveling this 100-percent Filipino invention (yes, it’s only available in the Philippines), Solmux Advance combines carbocisteine (a mucolytic to loosen phlegm) and zinc (to boost the immune system, enhance the ability of the white blood cells to fight infection).  

The body’s immune system surely needs zinc. The elderly and young children, who have low levels of zinc, are at higher risk of getting pneumonia and other infections.  

Where do we get zinc? It’s aplenty in foods like red meat, poultry, oysters and other seafood, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products. 

In-zinc with our immune system

Doc Gwen tells us more about this essential mineral: “Zinc works in our defense in a lot of layers — the barrier layer (skin), the mucus lining -- by preventing microorganisms from sticking on to the surface of the cells so they won’t be able to enter. It recruits our own white blood cells to mount the immune response, and the outcome is a shortened disease duration.”

According to studies, zinc supplementation can shorten one’s cough bout by one and a half days.

“Combining carbocisteine with zinc makes sense,” Joyce Santos elaborates. “Respiratory infections happen when you have a weak immune system. Zinc is an essential micronutrient that is involved in the regulation of the immune response.”

To which Doc Gwen adds, “When patients have cough secondary to infection, especially in the susceptible population, this may be reflective of a weakened immune system. Zinc levels are lowered, which leaves us vulnerable and may prolong our recovery period. Which is why zinc and carbocisteine make an ideal combination that effectively relieves cough by aiding in the expulsion of phlegm with decreased bacterial adhesion to cells and helping in faster recovery by boosting immunity.”

With the flu season upon us, it’s such a comfort to know that now, there’s something we can turn to when we get a respiratory tract infection and that nasty coughing attack.

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